One of the responsibilities I've recently taken on is that of planning the content for TechEd Europe 2004. This year should be the biggest TechEd yet in Europe, with 300 sessions across nine tracks. The European TechEd has always had a slightly greater developer bias than the US event, because we also have an IT Pro conference a few months later in the same year, and we're also introducing an architectural track this year as well as an increased mobility focus with a Mobility DevCon happening alongside the main event. Co-ordinating the content is a major undertaking and I'm starting to realise how much work goes on behind the scenes to make an event like this happen!
We're now accepting submissions for third-party sessions to be presented at the conference. We've polled previous attendees and find that people enjoy hearing a mixture of sessions from Microsoft (to hear the "official" line) and from independent speakers (to get a different perspective informed by real business scenarios). Each year, we get far more proposals than we can actually include, so the quality bar is quite high, but we're always on the look out for imaginative new ideas and compelling content. A few tips as to what we're looking for:
- A good track record of public speaking at events (not necessarily Microsoft) is generally mandatory - TechEd is a daunting place to speak at, and it's not the best place to deliver your first ever presentation...
- Sessions that contain practical, hands-on technical content covering real-world usage of a product at multiple sites are valuable: particularly if you've picked up some valuable insights to share with others.
- The majority of sessions at TechEd are Level 300-400 in content, and presented in English.
- We don't have a huge budget to fly you first-class from New Zealand and put you up in a five-star hotel, just to present a one hour slot. The rewards for speaking at a conference like this are usually more related to public profile than financial profit.
- You should expect to work with a track owner to create and refine your presentation - submitting the presentation the night before won't work...
The submission form asks a session title, a brief abstract, details of the content and an explanation of how the session would add value to the conference programme. You might want to pull these pieces together along with a brief bio and details of previous experience to expedite your session submission.
Hope to hear from some of you with some great session ideas!